As the invasion of Ukraine approaches its 44th day, Russia has conceded to “major army casualties.”
Dmitry Peskov, the presidential spokesperson, told Sky News in the United Kingdom that the deaths were “a terrible sadness for us.”
He expressed the optimism that Moscow will achieve its military objectives “in the next days.”
Mr. Peskov’s remarks came after Russia was kicked out of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.
Following reports of major human rights abuses by Russian soldiers in the formerly seized town of Bucha in northern Ukraine, 93 of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly voted in favor of the diplomatic condemnation. In reaction, Moscow announced its departure from the council.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of further atrocities in Borodyanka, a town near the capital Kyiv, as the organization expressed its “grave concern” over the ongoing human rights and humanitarian catastrophe.
Mr Peskov disputed that Russian forces were involved in the executions in Bucha, telling the network that “we are living in days of fakes and falsehoods.” He claimed without evidence that photographs of residents killed in the town were fabricated.
His acknowledgment that Russia has incurred considerable losses, on the other hand, is startling. Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on March 25 that 1,351 of its servicemen had been killed in action. According to Ukraine, about 19,000 Russians have died.
Russia’s and Ukraine’s claims of Russian losses cannot be independently confirmed, and analysts warn that Russia may be understating its death rate while Ukraine inflates it to bolster morale. Between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers are believed to have been killed, according to Western commanders.
Mr. Peskov, who has been Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman since 2000, also stated that Russia is looking for methods to stop the conflict.
“Our military is doing everything they can to bring that operation to a close,” he added. “And we sincerely hope that in the next days, in the near future, this operation will achieve its objectives or be completed by discussions between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations.”
Russia has withdrawn soldiers from Kyiv and redirected the majority of its military efforts to eastern Ukraine, but the violence shows no signs of abating.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has advised Ukrainians residing in the east to evacuate while they still have the chance, despite the fact that evacuations are already being hampered by the ferocity of the bombardment.
In punishment for suspected war crimes in Ukraine, Western nations put further sanctions on Russia’s economy on Thursday.
The US Senate voted overwhelmingly to revoke Moscow’s “most favoured nation” trade designation, potentially exposing platinum, chemicals, iron, and steel to additional taxes and import curbs.
Over the following 120 days, the EU decided to progressively implement a ban on Russian coal imports, which are worth roughly $4 billion (£3.3 billion) a year to the Russian economy.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed to Russia’s state Duma that the country is facing its worst economic outlook in decades as a result of the cumulative impact of widespread sanctions.
“Without a doubt, the current position for Russia is the most challenging in three decades,” he stated. “Even during the worst days of the Cold War, such restrictions were not applied.”
However, he maintained that Western sanctions had had a limited impact, telling MPs that the “financial system, which is the lifeblood of the entire economy, has held up.”
Russia’s currency, the rouble, has recovered to its pre-war level after plunging to a record low at the end of February.
President Zelensky of Ukraine has reiterated his requests for additional heavy weapon shipments from the West, claiming that his forces require “weapons that will give it the ability to triumph on the battlefield and that would be the toughest possible sanction against Russia.”